Global Railway Industries Ltd. reports that net earnings for this year’s first quarter improved to $89,000 compared to a $1.5 million net loss in the first quarter of 2009. Total revenue increased 27.3% to $18.7 million. Earnings per share improved to $0.01 compared to a loss of $0.10 in the 2009 quarter.
“Management is pleased to report Global's return to profitability during the first quarter of 2010, and the reduction of its bank debt by $1.5 million,” said Terry McManaman, chairman, president, and CEO of Global. “Global's first-quarter earnings were in line with management's expectations and can be attributed to improved profitability of the VIA Rail Canada business, as well as operational efficiencies, cost cutting initiatives, and scale economies.”
Keolis Rail Services America is nearly done hiring about 45 train engineers and conductors to operate Virginia Railway Express trains, which the company will take over from Amtrak beginning June 28. At least eight of those hired reportedly come from New Jersey Transit Corp., which has put some of its operating personnel on furlough due to budget cuts.
Overall, Keolis has hired 15 of the needed 18 train engineers, and 15 of the 27 needed train conductors, said Steve Townsend, Keolis America executive vice president. “I think probably in the next week, week and a half, we’ll have filled most of the positions, if not all,” Townsend said.
Townsend said Keolis has a five-year contract to run VRE trains, with two five-year renewal options. All Keolis engineers and conductors will complete the required training in the VRE service area and in Union Station, Washington, D.C., by June 28.
Ansaldo STS USA Monday announced its VitalNet™ Current Sensor for use in Positive Train Control applications, as mandated for most Class I rail rights-of-way by the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008. The company says the VitalNet Current sensor reduces the labor and improves quality and safety.
Ansaldo STS USA will display the new product at the RSSI C&S Exhibition in Omaha, Neb., May 18 and 19, and will formally present the productin the RSSI Innovation Theater at 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, the 18th.
The current sensor combines the best current-sensing technologyavailable into one device: a small, light package, diversity in detection and closedloop control capability. The form factor allows for installation without disarrangement, providing simple PTC installation on lamp signals, the company says.
The VitalNet Current Sensor is a prewired solution thatfeatures upper and lower current sensing tabs—in between are two currentmeasuring elements. Each element is able to make individual measurements that the controller can compare for diversity. In combination with voltage detection, the current sensor allows for full vital signal detection for both AC and DC currents.
Other new Ansaldo STS USA products that will be featured atRSSI include: the VitalNet Point Monitor—hand throw switch monitoring for PTC; the VitalNet WIU, a stand-alone wayside interface unit; MicroLok® II VitalNet CPU, a wayside interface unit upgrade for PTC in existing interlocking locations; and RailSentry™, a security product.
Union Pacific announced that it has increased its 2010 capital expenditure program by $100 million in growth capital to a total of $2.6 billion. The railroad said the additional $100 million will be used primarily to buy new intermodal equipment “and support our intermodal strategy.” The action was taken at a board meeting in Omaha May 6.
“UP's domestic intermodal business grew 8% last year during one of the worst recessions in decades, as our record service performance attracted new business to our railroad,” said Jim Young, Union Pacific chairman and chief executive officer.
UP’s board of directors also voted to increase the quarterly dividend on the company’s common shares by 22% to 33 cents per share, payable July 1, 2010, to stockholders of record on May 28, 2010.
“With business volumes continuing to grow, we feel very positive about the long-term fundamentals of our business as well as UP's strategy to make the most of these opportunities,” said Young. “As a result, we are generating solid free cash flows and have confidence going forward that we are taking the right steps to capitalize on our growth opportunities and reward our shareholders.”
UP also said it plans to resume share repurchases on an opportunistic basis under its existing program, which authorizes purchases of up to 32.6 million shares by March 31, 2011.
The States for Passenger Rail Coalition has sent Congress a request for 2011 funding that includes a $2.5 billion appropriation for grants under the High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail program, the same level sought for 2010, plus $1 billion for “next generation” intercity passenger rail equipment development.
“The states are ready to step up to the plate in partnership with the federal government to create a better intercity passenger rail program than ever before,” said the coalition, an alliance of state departments of transportation that was established in 2000.
Noting that the states’ focus is on “safety, economic development, energy security, and conservation and environmental quality,” coalition members also asked the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development for $100 million for the positive train control program; $55 million for the Swift High-Speed Rail Grade Crossing Elimination Program; and $45 million for the Rail Line Relocation program.
The coalition said it supports Amtrak’s separate request for$2.2 billion to address “a broad array of daunting challenges [including] meeting ADA requirements, operating over an ever-aging infrastructure, and assisting the states in development of a national intercity passenger rail system.”
Bombardier Transportation capped a busy corporate news week Friday by announcing a contract to implement European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) Level 2 technology in Poland. The company says the deal with Polish State Railway (Polskie Linie Kolejowe, or PKP) is the first installation of ERTMS Level 2 technology in Poland, and is valued at $17 million.
Bombardier will oversee the supply, installation, testing, and commissioning of its INTERFLOR 450 ERTMS Level 2 onboard and wayside signaling system to be installed on the section of the E30 main line between Legnica, Wegliniec, and Bielawa Dolna. The project is part of the modernization program of the pan-European transport corridors which will ensure interoperability on railway lines in Poland.
The system will be developed and delivered by Bombardier Transportation Rail Control Solutions sites in Sweden and Poland, and is scheduled to go into operation in April 2012.
Anders Lindberg, president, Bombardier Transportation Rail Control Solutions, said, “As pioneers of ERTMS technology, we are extremely pleased to win this significant order which strengthens Bombardier’s market lead in ERTMS and brings ETCS Level 2 technology to Poland, extending the network across Europe.”
RailPros, Inc. says it has opened an office in downtown SanDiego “to better serve our San Diego-area clients.” The office is located at401 B Street, Suite 310, San Diego, CA 92101; telephone: (619) 795-0325. RailPros already has office locations in Los Angeles and its company headquarters in Irvine, Calif.
The San Diego office is headed by Mike Ruth and Joe Aroyo,who both are managing projects for the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), San Diego’s CenterCity Development Corp. (CCDC), and North County Transit District (NCTD), all within San Diego County.
The company also noted Joe Zerzan has joined RailPros as asenior signal manager; Zerzan is based in Los Angeles, where he is the leadtechnical adviser for the Metrolink Positive Train Control project.
U.S. carload freight traffic rose 14.7% during the week ended May 8, 2010, compared with the comparable week in 2009, the Association of American Railroads reported Thursday, marking the 11th consecutive week of traffic increases. The rate was still 13.9% below the comparable week in 2008. U.S. intermodal traffic also rose, up 14.0% from last year but down 9.2% from 2008.
Total volume was estimated at 32.2 billion ton-miles, up 16.2% from last year but down 8.8% from 2008.
Eighteen of 19 carload commodity groups were up from last year, led by a 99.7% jump in metals and a 70.2% increase in metallic ores. Loadings of motor vehicles and equipment were up 50.%; waste and scrap was up 31.6%; and lumber and wood products gained 23.4%. Only grain mill products declined, down 4.8%.
Canadian carload freight traffic rose 38% from last year, while intermodal advanced 9.9% from 2009. Mexican carload freight was up 37.9% from the same week last year, while intermodal rose a similar 36%.
Genesee & Wyoming (GWI) railroads racked up April volume of 72,023 carloads, an increase of 9,979 carloads, or 16.1%, compared with April 2009.
GWI said metals traffic grew by 3,557 carloads primarily due to increased steel shipments in the New York/Ohio/Pennsylvania and Southern regions.
Traffic in GWI's "Other" commodity group grew 2,595 carloads primarily due to increased overhead shipments in the NewYork/Ohio/Pennsylvania Region. Coal, coke & ores traffic was up 1,584 carloads. All other traffic increased by a net 2,243 carloads.
GWI owns and operates 62 short line and regional railroads in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the Netherlands, with approximately 6,000 miles of owned and leased track and approximately 3,400 additional miles under track access arrangements.